Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Antilocapra americana

Pronghorn

Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Antilocapridae

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Image of Antilocapra americana
Antilocapra americana - female, right; male, left
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.


Pronghorn are endemic to North America, and are the only living members of the family Antilocapridae. In the Pleistocene, about a dozen species roamed the continent. Two things distinguish their horns from those of all other mammals: they fork, and the black, outer, forked sheath is shed annually from the unforked, bony core. The horns of females are shorter and do not develop a pronounced prong-like shape. Pronghorns stay in the open, relying on their excellent eyesight and speed for protection - they have been clocked at 72 km per hour. They communicate with each other visually, by raising the mane on the back of the neck into a stiff brush and erecting the white hairs on the rump. When a Pronghorn activates this visual beacon, it is coupled with an olfactory signal: the rump glands emit a strong smell.

Also known as:
Antelope, Pronghorn Antelope, Berrendo

Length:
Range: 1.3-1.5 m males; 1.3-1.5m females

Weight:
Range: 42-59 kg males; 41-50 kg females

References:

Ord, 1815. in Guthrie, William, A new system of modern geography: or, a geographical, historical, and commercial grammar, and present state of the several nations of the world, 2nd Edition, Johnson and Warner, Philadelphia and Richmond, p. 292.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Antilocapra americana

Image of Antilocapra americana
Click to enlarge. (49kb)

Skull of Antilocapra americana
Pronghorn have large eyes projecting away from the skull. A prominent ring-like eye socket supports the eyes, giving them a very wide field of view
Click to enlarge. (20kb)

 
Bones and Teeth

Antilocapra americana
Specialized bottom (distal) joint of the cannon bone, seen from the front (anterior). Click to enlarge. (7kb)

Antilocapra americana
Left hindfoot and hooves, seen from the rear (posterior). Click to enlarge. (8kb)

 

Antilocapra americana
Left hindfoot positions during locomotion: supporting body weight (right) and free of weight (left). Click to enlarge. (7kb)

Antilocapra americana
Specialized bottom (distal) joint of the cannon bone, seen from the rear (posterior). Click to enlarge. (7kb)

 

Antilocapra americana
Top (proximal) part of the right ankle bone assembly. Click to enlarge. (12kb)